Latitude Festival to go ahead at full capacity in latest stage of government pilot scheme

Music fans will return to Henham Park next month for headline sets from Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers and Bombay Bicycle Club

Latitude Festival organisers have confirmed that the event will go ahead at full capacity as part of the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).

The ERP has seen audiences attend a weekend of events in Liverpool, the BRIT Awards and Download Festival to investigate the safety of large crowds returning to events after the coronavirus pandemic.

35,000 music fans will now descend on Suffolk’s Henham Park from July 22-25 to see headline sets from Wolf Alice, The Chemical Brothers, Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club.

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In order to gain entry, ticketholders will be asked for proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at the festival, or proof of full vaccination with the second dose having been received at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the festival.

Festival director Melvin Benn said: “We have been working extremely hard to make sure that Latitude Festival can go ahead safely at full capacity. Becoming an ERP event gives us the security of going ahead. Crucially the additional research collected at Latitude will benefit all festivals and live events moving forward. Everyone will be welcome to attend as long as they have a negative lateral flow test or proof of two vaccinations.

 

“After many months without live music and arts, we are ecstatic to return with a full capacity festival. Restarting festivals is crucially important to the wellbeing of everyone in society and we hope that Latitude will be the first of many festivals to take place this summer!”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We are working flat out to find a way to get festivals back up and running safely, so it is brilliant that Latitude will go ahead as part of the Events Research Programme and build on the success of our pilots at Download and Sefton Park.”

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The latest large-scale experiment comes after 10,000 rock fans returned to Donington Park last week for the Download Festival Pilot.

The event saw fans being encouraged to start mosh pits and party like the pandemic never happened as they enjoyed headline sets from Bullet For My ValentineFrank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Enter Shikari.

However, there is growing unrest about the government’s perceived lack of urgency in releasing data from the early stages of the ERP.

Events organisers were eagerly anticipating the results of the programme last week after early positive signs, ahead of a planned summer of live music, but they were delayed without explanation.

As a direct result of this, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced yesterday that he will join forces with the live music industry to take legal action that could force the UK government to hand over the results of the ERP.

Leading industry figures also accused the government of “pushing live music off a cliff-edge” and endangering the future of the industry by failing to publish the results.

The government has subsequently confirmed that test event data will be published “shortly”. 

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